Support Rural Oregonians Traveling to Standing Rock

Like many of you, we are knee-deep in thinking about how we best defend the most vulnerable in our communities. We are supporting dozens of rural Oregonians across the state responding to threats, vandalism, and harassment in light of the election results. After hearing from teachers across rural Oregon that bullying and harassment is making students feel unsafe, the Rural Organizing Project and friends are pulling together a conference call by and for rural teachers tomorrowTuesday, Nov 22nd at 3:30PMClick here for more information and to register.

It is tempting to hide under our beds right now. There’s so much work ahead of us — defending our immigrant and Muslim neighbors, keeping our schools and health care intact, and making sure our communities stay as connected and inclusive as possible. There is much to mourn. We also need to muster our courage. What a critical moment for us to focus on what is most important right now: building community and standing with those who are taking bold risks for the welfare of millions. The brave water protectors at Standing Rock are still on the frontlines of the defense of land and water from the Dakota Access Pipeline. Last night, unarmed water protectors were brutally attacked with water cannons in freezing weather, shot with rubber bullets, tear gassed, and more. They are taking a historic stand, one that is bringing tribes together for the first time in hundreds of years, and we want to answer the call for allies to stand with the water protectors by offering the skills and resources we have as rural Oregonians.

We recently sent out an email sharing the news that ROP is taking a contingent of 50 rural Oregonians to Standing Rock to assist in preparing the camp for winter and to stand in solidarity with the water protectors resisting the Dakota Access Pipeline in defense of indigenous rights and a future of clean water. If you missed that announcement and want to read more about why we are going, click here to read more.

We are writing now to ask that you join us in demonstrating that Rural Oregon stands with Standing Rock! Here are five ways you can represent your community and support the inspiring resistance at Standing Rock:

1. Join us! It’s not too late to get on the bus! We are prioritizing seats for indigenous folks, as well as rural and small town residents who otherwise wouldn’t be able to get out to Standing Rock. This is a pay-as-you-can opportunity and the cost of travel will not be a barrier. Space is limited, so please fill out this application today!

2. Donate today! We are raising funds to purchase items needed to set up a semi-permanent encampment for 50 people! We will set up, utilize, and donate large extreme weather tents for dormitory-style sleeping with cots, woodstoves, and kitchen equipment. Our aim is to donate the infrastructure for large contingents to continue to come to Standing Rock and be as self-sufficient as possible throughout the harsh winter. Here is a list of specific items needed and the link to donate funds to help us purchase them.

3. Hold a gear drive! We are taking donations of good quality (new or barely used) winter gear, including subzero sleeping bags, coats that can withstand extreme weather, and more. Click here for a complete list! If you would like to set up a gear drive in your community: Choose a drop-off location (it could be a friendly business or someone’s house), spread the word with your neighbors and your community, and connect with Hannah@rop.org or (323) 749-9263 to create a plan for getting the gear to our bus and to Standing Rock! You can mail donations — gear and dollars — to ROP at PO Box 664 Cottage Grove, OR 97424. All donated items need to be received by ROP by Monday, December 5th.

4. Volunteer! There’s a lot of work left to do to gather the gear we need and to finalize the logistics of sending a busload of rural Oregonians to Standing Rock! Do you have time and/or skills to offer? Some examples of ways volunteers can help include: calling local stores for in-kind donations of food and equipment, planning and packing meals for the contingent for the bus trip, and delivering donated items from drop off sites to ROP — just to name a few. We’ve got a whole list, and you may have skills to offer we haven’t even thought of yet! Contact Hannah to find out more about volunteer opportunities: Hannah@rop.org or (323) 749-9263.

5. Host a fundraising event! Pull together folks in your community to share about the strategic and symbolic stand for indigenous rights and access to clean water that is happening now at Standing Rock. Tell them about the group of rural Oregonians going to help prepare the camp for winter and help us raise the funds that we need to buy the gear to set up camp. Here’s a guide to fundraising for the ROP trip to get you started. If you want to host an event, ROP can support you in your planning efforts. Contact Hannah at Hannah@rop.org or (323) 749-9263.

Thank you for the work that you do and for joining ROP as we stand in solidarity with Standing Rock!
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